Announcing the Winner of the GDS2

Posted in Feature on March 9, 2011

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

Let me start by saying that I wish I had three design internships to award in the Great Designer Search 2. Ethan, Scott, and Shawn have excelled in every possible way. I would be happy to have any one of them as my intern. Unfortunately, I have only one internship to award.

At the end of the online competition, I was glad that there was still an entire final day, because I had no idea who I wanted to hire. Between the Gauntlet (three back-to-back-to-back one-hour interviews) and the final Design Challenge, I knew I would be getting a lot more data.

After the Gauntlet was done, I talked to all of the other interviewers (all ten of them), and there were multiple people arguing each of the three finalists was the one I should hire. Ethan, Scott, and Shawn all excelled in their interviews. In the live Design Challenge, I was impressed not just with the work they did in their hour—which, for those who have never done something that restrictive in that short a time, was very hard—but in how each of them handled themselves during the mock development meeting that followed.

I was planning to select a winner on Monday, but the decision was so hard, I needed a night to sleep on it. But this is the Great Designer Search 2, and in the end only one person can win.

So without any further ado, I am proud to announce as the winner of The Great Designer Search 2...

Ethan Fleischer


In the end, the GDS2 was about vision. While Scott and Shawn also showed excellent vision, when the dust settled, it was clear to me that Ethan had demonstrated the strongest skills in this area.

We have not yet picked Ethan's start date, but once he shows up, I will be sure to keep you all abreast of what he is up to. For starters, I have a design team ("Line") to stick him on.

I'm also happy to announce they we have offered Shawn Main an internship in R&D with our Magic digital group. (They work on all of our various digital products that tie into Magic, including Magic Online and Duels of the Planeswalkers.) While Magic design will not be his main responsibility, I will make sure to borrow some of his time when I'm able.

Scott was not offered a position at this time, but as I said to him, he impressed a lot of people in R&D and has gotten his name onto an important short list. He may not have gotten a job at Wizards of the Coast today, but he moved a lot of steps closer in that quest.

I wanted to end today by thanking everyone who has taken the time to participate in The Great Designer Search 2, whether by entering the competition, aiding the Top 8 in their Design Challenges, or just reading along. While the GDS2 was a lot of work, it has been a wonderful experience, and I hope it was interesting for all of you who followed along.

Nothing is planned as of yet, but the success of GDS1 and GDS2 makes me optimistic that some day (although, to be clear, not in the immediate future), I'll be announcing The Great Designer Search 3.

Thanks for reading along!

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